Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Crochet USA Cozy Pattern

A couple of months ago I bought some red, white, and blue yarn on sale...but I had no idea what to do with it. I was too busy in May to play with it for Memorial Day so I made sure to make time for it before the 4th of July. 

The first thing I actually made was a flag wreath.

Pattern from Petals to Picots

I had plenty of yarn left when I finished the wreath, so I decided to make a couple cozies. I looked around for a pattern and found a couple I liked...but then I just decided to play around with the yarn and see what happened. 

Well what happened was I made my own cozy!
After I was done and liked how it turned out, I thought why not write it down? I've done this before, played around with a pattern and made up my own, but I never wrote it down. And then when I want to make it again... I have no clue what I did. 

I'd really love to test the waters of writing my own patterns and I think this is a simple and easy way to start. And festive!

Ok, so here it goes....since this is my first attempt at writing a pattern, if you find a flaw PLEASE comment and tell me so I can fix it!! 
It would be much appreciated!

USA Can/Bottle Cozy

Skill Level: Easy
  • Yarn: Two strands regular worsted weight yarn, acrylic or cotton (cotton is better for sweating cans) in red, white, and blue - you will use two strands of blue and one strand of red & white together
  • Hook: K (6.5mm) & B (2.25mm)
  • Yarn needle
  • CH - chain
  • SS - slip stitch
  • ST/S - stitch(es)
  • SC - single crochet
  • HDC - half double crochet 
  • 3 HDC = 1 inch
Using one strand of red and one strand of white:
Start with a magic circle (if this is new, here is a great tutorial)

Row 1: CH 1, 6 HDC into magic circle; join with SS to first ST and pull tight (6sts)
R2: CH 1, starting in the next ST (not the one you SS to) 2 HDC in each ST; join with SS to 1st ST (12sts) - see images below for detailed examples of my joining method
R3: CH 1, *2 HDC in next ST, 1 HDC in next ST* repeat from *; join with SS (18sts)
R4: CH 1, *2HDC in next ST, 1 HDC in next two STS* repeat from *; join with SS (24sts)
R5: CH 1, in back loop only 1 HDC in each ST; join with SS (24sts)
R6-10: CH 1, 1HDC in each ST; join with SS (24sts)
Change to TWO strands of blue:
R11-13: CH 1, 1 HDC in each ST; join with SS (24sts)

If you are making the cozy for a can then skip Row 14, finish off and weave in ends.

R14 (for a bottle): CH 1, 1SC in each ST; join with SS to 1st ST (24sts)
Finish off and weave in ends.

For the stars I did two different options:

For the bottle cozy I used the stars from the wreath, only I used a 2.25mm hook. Here is the link to that pattern: Star Pattern from Petals to Picots

For the can cozy I just stitched little stars randomly on the blue.

I think they both turned out cute!

Here are some pictures to help with my joining method:

Image 1: This is the end of row 2

Image 2: Skip the chain one and slip stitch into the 1st stitch of Row 2.

Image 3: Joined with a slip stitch into the first stitch of that row.

 Image 4: Starting the next row - Chain one and the first stitch of the next row goes into stitch #2 of the previous row. You slip stitched into stitch #1.

 I hope that's not too confusing. I think I came up with this as a mixture of other methods I saw in patterns. I like it because it doesn't leave a noticeable seam and it's pretty easy once you know what you are doing. 

Please comment or email me with any questions or if I missed a step or stitch and I will fix it asap.

Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Ka-Bob's Your Uncle

Breakfast Fruit Kabobs
Our family just discovered kabobs.
Maybe you are already familiar with these skewered wonders, but we were not. Of course I've seen them plenty and a fruit kabob is nothing new, however I've never actually made one.

We recently returned from a nine day family vacation and try as we may, we all ate terribly. I mean, we could have done worse...but there was definitely a lot of food and some fast food. Half way through the week, we were all feeling the effects. We decided not to stress about it while on our trip but once we got more.

Take a wild guess where we went.... ;)
I'm still working on getting the baby weight off and hubby has a uniform to fit into and needs to make weight for his next PT test. He's never had to worry about it before, but this time I think he's sweating it a little. I'm not gonna first thought was "Welcome to my world!".

So now that we are home I'm driving the clean-eating train once again. I'm pretty close to getting us back to 100% clean, all I need to figure out is what to do for bread and having enough snacks around for the summer. 

In trying to find some new healthy recipes for dinner, I was inspired by an account I follow on Instagram - 100 Days of Real Food. I've posted about her recipes before. Her name is Lisa Leake and she has a great website full of clean, real-food recipes for the whole family. I had to revisit my Clean Lunches Post (that was also inspired by Lisa) because I now have three kids to feed every meal and I couldn't remember anything other than peanut butter. I swear the third kid deleted some memory brain cells....

On Lisa's IG account I saw her post some kabobs that had pork, red onion, and peaches. It looked SO good and I thought the flavors sounded like they could be delicious, so once we got home from vacation I bought all the ingredients and some bamboo kabob sticks. 

Luckily for us, before we made these a friend advised me to soak the sticks in water so they didn't catch on fire...genius. I'm really glad she told me that, because that is exactly what would have happened and it would have been frozen pizza for dinner. 

I don't know how Lisa did it, but I didn't put any seasoning on the onion or peaches and I only sprinkled some salt and pepper on the pork. Then I threaded them on the bamboo sticks.

I shoved as much stuff on there as I could! And a word to the wise...soak your sticks for a long time. I soaked mine the whole time I was prepping the food and two of them still caught on fire towards the end.

I wish I could describe how amazing these smelled!

I wanted dinner to be easy and healthy so along with the kabobs we made foil packs. I just threw in whatever I could find: red potatoes, yellow pepper, and carrots. I chopped them and tossed them all with olive oil, Italian seasoning, and some garlic powder. Then wrapped them up in foil and put them on the grill. They turned out perfect! You definitely need to do the foil pack first - that takes 30-40 minutes to cook and the kabobs only took about 10-15.

You absolutely have to eat a bite with all three ingredients to get the full flavor of this dish. The peach, onion, and pork together is ridiculously flavorful.

It was a delicious dinner that even the kids loved, plus totally clean and guilt free. Winning!

Since there were 100 skewers in the pack I bought, I decided to have fun with the kids' other meals.
We had lunch kabobs with tomatoes, ham, and cheese:

And then breakfast fruit kabobs with banana, strawberries, grapes, and bluberries:

I served these with a toasted bagel half spread with peanut butter. 
Not totally clean, but like I said...we are getting there.

Now that we've discovered the wonder of the kabob...the possibilities are endless! If you have any great kabob combos, please share!

Thanks for the tasty meal and inspiration Lisa!